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In a society as patriarchal as ours, it is very easy to assign gender roles to every child that is born. Isn’t it time it changed? This mother has a few tips
“Hey! Why are you blushing so much? Are you a girl?”
“Betu, why are you crying like a girl?”
These were the questions asked to my three-year-old son and were on a serial loop in my head. He is probably used to these questions and answers them with a firm, “No.”
But does he really understand the difference between genders yet? I am sure he doesn’t. He knows he is a boy but he hasn’t really understood the so-called supreme “Y” chromosome phenotypes.
From a very young age, when a child actually understands patriarchy, we as the society, start imparting gender-specific behaviour to them. A boy is forbidden from entering the kitchen or expressing his emotions. At the same time, a girl is expected to be polite, compassionate and caring.
The superiority of any gender or gender biases starts at the house, right after the child is born. Being a mother of a son in today’s world can be the most difficult task.
“Are you a girl?” starts coming as an offensive statement. The toddler, then stops being a child. Instead, he carries the burdens of expectations right from the age where he hardly knows the world.
I would like my son to grow up and become a man who doesn’t just “help” around the house but takes all the responsibility of his chores. To respect the other gender in every aspect (personally, I don’t want him to consider women weak AT all). I don’t want him to control his emotions. And to cry when he wants to, and blush when he feels like it. I want him to pamper his toys, feed them and get ready and adorn his reflection in the mirror as much as he wants. Of course, I also want him to acknowledge his fault whenever he makes mistakes.
The important thing is to understand the importance of saying “No” respectfully and accepting rejections with dignity. There is nothing “manly” in showing anger by hurting someone else regardless of the age or gender.
It can be small things that we can change right from the childhood. I have started telling my son that there are some dishes, that dad cooks best, and mom can’t. We can start cleaning the house together including the child.
When there are guests in the house, Dad can cater the guests (at least sometimes) and mom just chats with them. Whenever I cook, I take my son along and explain how cooking can be fun. I don’t force him and coax him if he is being shy. Neither do I stop him when he cries simply because he is a boy. I have made sure that he has all the toys including cars and footballs but also a doll and a kitchen set.
My son has seen, that there are many decisions in the house which I take independently. If he is getting any toys, it’s mostly because his mom earns money. He understands now that his father is not a sole breadwinner.
I personally believe now, that if women (especially mothers) are treated with respect in the house it reflects on the child. Of course, all the other values are similar to daughter as well as a son.
Let’s start changing the way we handle our children to ensure that the world is a better place to live in. At the same time, let’s teach our sons that a man and a woman are made differently, but for a reason. Neither biologically nor mentally, they cannot be equal, this is essential for our species to survive.
However, both of them need the same rights and opportunities. In today’s world, handling a little man can be the most crucial task in creating a woman-friendly world.
Picture credits: Pexels
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